One word for this place: swank.
The drinks are artistically rendered, the staff attentive, the music sophisticated. And most of the electric lighting is reserved for the pictures on the wall.
Located in the front of downtown-Asheville staple The Marketplace, Bar 100’s bragging rights come from the local ingredients in its food and drink: “It’s all from within 100 miles!” an eager server informed me.
The drinks look like something out of a magazine, so pitch-perfect is the presentation, and the bartending seems to have gotten the same care as the rest of the immaculate environment. None of the drinks I sampled had more than three ingredients, and they all went down smooth as silk. The Bee’s Knees put sourwood honey together with Junípero Gin and a touch of lemon for a reminder that tasty drinks can still have a kick. The same applied with the Stoli, rosemary and red-grapefruit-laden Grey’s Hound: Each sip was savored. (The martinis run $8, so be careful; delicious can get expensive fast.)
Nothing goes with good drinks and the ensuing conversation like some decent munchables, and here Bar 100 excels. When complemented with toasted bread and sautéed mushrooms, the portions for a “to taste” serving of cheeses were more than enough for the three people in my party. At $4, the dish ranks among the city’s best reasonably priced bar eats.
The marble-topped bar stood empty, as the patrons seemed more interested in their conversations than in mixing with strangers. The “crowd” (six other people at the time) included one foursome on a double date—conversing in a manner that I can only describe as civilized—and one couple, staring intently into each other’s eyes until their food arrived. (The scene bordered on sedate: Civilized drinking has its virtues, but one might be forgiven for yearning for an occasional raucous moment, if only for variety’s sake.)
Last week, Bar 100 debuted summer drink specials, including a peach mojito. The bar is also hosting DJs and holding later hours on Friday, but that shouldn’t change the ambiance too much, as a press release promises “laid-back” music.
Bar 100 is located at 20 Wall St. and is open from 5 to 11 p.m. nightly. For more information, call 252-4162.